- Hello, I'm Bearnard (a.k.a. Bernie) B. Behr. I travel around the United States with my human Gary, who is a professional tour guide for California Sunriders motorcycle tours. We both come from Conifer, Colorado, a nice little town in the Rocky Mountains. We travel all over the country finding beautiful places and meeting all sorts of people from around the world. I keep Gary from getting in trouble and help him keep the guests on his tours happy, not an easy job! We have a lot of fun together and see a lot of really great places, and since Gary is a professional photographer too, we have some great pictures too (usually starring yours truly). Gary also likes to write a lot, (he's a little long-winded but tells a good story) so there's usually a lot to read. It's a good thing too, I can't type very well with these paws, so I'll have Gary do most of the writing. Keep coming back and enjoy the blog. Feel free to post a comment or make suggestions (like how to keep these crazy humans in line!) and we look forward to reading them. Sincerely, Bearnard B. Behr And Gary Fleshman
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
After a day of rest we’re ready to hit the open road again, back on old route 66 through New Mexico. Today we start out from the hotel before breakfast and ride hungry for a hour down to Albuquerque, to Church St. Cafe. Here we sit in their beautiful patio out back and enjoy a wonderful breakfast. One of our favorite cafes along the route they offer both a typical breakfast, and a good selection of southwestern influenced breakfast items (I strongly suggest the breakfast burrito with green chili, It’s so big that even Gary has a hard time finishing it!).After we eat the group has some time to do a little shopping in old town before we hit the road again.
Before we leave Albuquerque however, we stop at a local park and walk down to the Rio Grande river. This is the only opportunity we’ll get to see it up close before we leave the state. Starting in central southern Colorado it stretches south, forming the border between Mecico and the United States. An important waterway in this parched high desert environment and the only source of water for both agriculture and people all the way until it empties in the Gulf of Mexico.
Back on the road we continue on down the old route leaving Albuquerque behind us for the wild west, former stomping grounds of Billy the Kid, Pancho Villa, real cowboys, and spanish conquistadors.
Looking across the land it’s very easy to imagine a cattle drive stretching across the sagebrush, cowboys riding alongside with the chuckwagon bringing up the rear. Moving down the old pecos trail to the stockyards of Dodge city Kansas.
As we move further west we begin to see large fields of black stone, lava flows from volcanoes from millions of years ago, interrupting the red color of the Navajo sandstone so common in the southwest.
After a brief rest stop in Grants for an ice cream to take the heat off, it’s back on the bikes to our destination, Gallup. A nice town with even better people. Before we get to our hotel we stop in downtown for one more shopping trip. Gallup is the center of trade in New Mexico for Native American jewelry, rugs and art. The main street in town is the place to shop and the many trading posts and pawnshops are the best sources of affordable Navajo jewelry. A $1200 piece of jewelry in Santa Fe and Taos will only cost you about $600-$700 here at the source for the exact same piece.
After shopping we then go to the local plaza for a demonstration of traditional tribal dances put on by the locals as a way of sharing their rich cultural heritage with the rest of the world. Afterwards it’s just a couple of miles down the road to our hotel.
After we all have an opportunity to wash the road dust off and get revived it’s time for dinner. We always eat at the historic El Rancho Hotel, a landmark frequented by movie stars, and former presidents. Many fims produced in the area called the El Rancho home while shooting the movie and housed many famous actors including Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez, Roy Rodgers, John Wayne, Errol Flynn, Ronald Regan, and many, many more. One of our motorcycle guides, Don, is the President of the local Wind & Fire motorcycle chapter had arranged for the local chapter members to escort us through town to dinner. During dinner the Wind & Fire members welcome us to New Mexico and keep us company, and give everyone the chance to meet real American bikers! A really great group of active and retired firemen who love the motorcycle and the freedom associated with it.
On our most recent tour we had several firefighters from England with us, and the Wind & Fire chapter members were nice enough to give us all a guided tour of the Gallup Fire Department's main station. They went above and beyond the call of duty and everyone really appreciated the chance to see how things are done in the United States. Thanks a lot guys, we really enjoyed it.
After a good dinner and even better company we are escorted back to our hotel for another good night’s rest. Tomorrow is another great day on old route 66!
Monday, July 24, 2006
Day eight is a rest day in Santa Fe. Today is the day we get to sleep in, getting up whenever we feel like it and having time to go explore Santa Fe on our own. After waking up my human, Gary (he’s a hard guy to wake up, almost like me hibernating in the winter) we headed off for a nice light breakfast of coffee and croissants. The rest of the group slowly wanders out of the hotel and explores this beautiful city in thier own way.
There’s plenty of things to do and go see in Santa Fe, shopping, sightseeing, dozens on art galleries, all kinds of resturaunts and cafes. Most popular however is the Plaza in old town, with it’s many art galleries and shops it’s a great place to spend the day. One of the most popular attractions in the plaza is buyng handmade Native American Navajo jewelry. Many of the artisans set up shop in front of the palace of the govenors to sell thier handiwork, beautiful jewelry, primarialy made of silver,turquoise,and tiger’s–eye. The plaza as also the place to find handmade rugs, woven in the local pueblos, and depict typical scenes and symbols of the native people.
Other activities are also available, including a guided tour of Santa Fe in an open trolley, or a day excursion up to Taos, another small town world renowned for its artist’s communes, and the home of painter Georgia O’Keefe (Sp?). This day ride takes you along the Rio Grande river and up into the pine forests of the rocky mountains, a welcome temperate ride down curvy mountain roads.Riding through the Rocky MountainsAnother popluar activity is to go pistol shooting at a local gun range. Considering the majority of the participants are from countries where even seeing a pistol is rare, getting the opportunity to shoot one is almost unthinkable. So it’s off to Tina’s Range gear for an afternoon of instruction and target pratice. Everyone has an opportunity to shoot various pistols, from the small .22 all the way up to the powerful .357 Magnum. Everyone gets instruction on gun saftey, range etiquette, and basic instruction. Then we buy a box of ammo and get in some target pratice.
So do you feel lucky punk?…well…do ya?
What do you mean we're out of ammo?
After shooting until we’ve gotten our fill, it’s back to the hotel to clean up and relax until time for dinner at another of Santa Fe’s fine resturaunts. After dinner we go check out some of the local drinking establishments for a nightcap before we turn in for a good night’s rest before we hit the road the next morning.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
This morning in Amirillo is a beautiful one, nice and cool after a night of spectacular thunderstorms to the south, mother natures’ fireworks. It’s time to load up the van and hit the open road, the great plains across the panhandle of Texas. After fueling up the bikes and the van we head off to our first stop of the day, Cadillac ranch. Just a few miles west of Amarillo there is a row of old Cadillacs planted in a local farmers field. Not just placed out in the field, but in fact half buried nose down, a kind of Texan hommage to stonehenge. A strange monument to the American automobile, and a true icon of the eccentric nature of the American people. We all sign out names on the cars with indellible markers lovingly supplied by the crazy human Gary, and I leave my pawprint. After we take a few more pictures it time to get back on the bikes and head on down the road.
Our next stop is in Adrian Texas at the midpoint cafe, aptly named as this is the middle of route 66, the same distance to Chicago and Santa Monica. Halfway there!
Here we stop for breakfast and a group photo in front of the midpoint sign. Although there are other places considered to be the midpoint of route 66, but these are considered the midpoints of the other alingments of the route. Over the years there have been several different paths of the route, each with a different midpoint but the longest lasting section’s midpoint was in Adrian.
Gotta Have My Coffee!
After a typical roadside diner breakfast and a few cups of coffee we get back on the road. We continue on and say goodbye to Texas as we pass into the high plains of New Mexico. Here the landscape begins to change from the treeless expanse of the open plains into what’s known as the high plains, and the foothills of the Rocky mountains.
Our next stop is in Santa Rosa for the Route 66 Auto Museum. A nice museum with an incredible collection of classic cars, lovingly restored to thier pristine showroom condition. Walking through the collection one can only dream of driving some of theses beautiful cars, especially some of the classic high performance muscle–cars. Mustangs, Chevelle SS, Corvettes, and other hotrods I could only dream of driving down the old road. After the Museum we stop for a bite to eat, and the off we go toward Santa Fe.
We continue on through the high plains and into the foothills of the rocky mountains, moving from the heat of the plains to the temperate climate of the mountains. Ahhh…it’s nice to get back home to the mountains. Soon we’re rolling into the beautiful city of Santa Fe, one of the oldest cities in the United States. It’s very easy to see the very strong influences of the Spaniards who once ruled this area by the distinctive architechture of the city. As we roll into the plaza in historic downtown it’s easy to imagine the conquistadores milling around the plaza two hundred years ago.
After checking into the beautiful Plaza Real hotel, it’s off to one of the many fine resturaunts in the area to sample the distinctive New Mexican cuisine. Heavily influenced by both native american and mexican history the area is world renowned for it’s eccentric and distinctive cuisine. If you like hot and spicy food this is the place for you. Then it’s time for a few drinks at the local bars and off to bed for a well deserved rest.